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Thursday, July 14, 2016

A TIME FOR REFLECTION: Part One

The Major League All-Star Game this week sort of represents the middle of summer.  My four fantasy baseball teams are doing okay.  After the first two weeks way back in April, they were either last or close to the bottom.  
Today, one is in first place, another in second and two in third.  Not bad, actually, for I rarely watch any games on TV.  For all those hours spent adjusting my teams, the most I can win if I place first is a tee-shirt.  One does essentially dumb and useless things in life, and this is one of them.   However, I'm quickly losing interest, yet I plod along.

Yesterday, I again walked 18 holes at the Ala Wai Golf Course.  The difference was that I golfed with Ikaika Woolsey, who will probably start at quarterback when Hawaii plays Cal in Sydney next month.  Scott Yamashita was the other University of Hawaii-related person, who recently graduated and was on the golf team.     Ikaika will graduate this fall with a double major.

They both drove the ball incredible distances.  On the third hole, Scott's drive ended up in the middle of the fairway 360 yards from the tee.  On the fifth  hole Ikaika and I got birdies.  If you know anything about this golf course, for someone to hit his drive from the 16th tee to the base of Pearl's Gold Tree at the 17th tee is astonishing.  Here, Scott waiting to attempt his second short.

Pearl's tree, as you can see, is not doing well, but there is another one between the 9th and 8th holes that seems to be surviving:


The problem, as I can best determine, is that at a young age, these Gold Trees cannot take the gusts of wind that shear off the leaves.  I think they need to be sheltered for a year or two longer.

Speaking of Hawaii-Cal in Sydney, I'll be off on my next Circle-Pacific tour early next month, with a stop in Sydney for the game, then with a final dally in San Francisco before returning home to Honolulu just before Labor Day.  I'll be splurging on First Class to gain more than 100,000 miles on Star Alliance:
  • 22,000 miles for the trip itself
  • 15,100 miles for charging the ticket on my Mileage-Plus Visa card
  • 70,000 bonus miles from United for spending at least $15,000 during this quarter
Thus, I will add 107,100 miles to my account.  My traveling is nearing an end so I'll never get to 3 million miles.

Appropriately enough, an op-ed article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser by Robert Sapolsky (Stanford Professor of Neuroscience) was entitled:


To quote from that article.

First, if a plane had a first-class section, the incidence of air rage more than tripled among coach passengers. That matches the air rage effect of a flight being delayed more than nine hours. Blame that curtain separating Us from Them, that gentle admonition to not dare use their bathroom, the smell of warm cookies wafting back to the hungry in coach.


Second, if coach passengers have to walk through first class to get to their seats, rather than entering mid-plane, it causes an even higher incidence of air rage — about a seven-fold increase, equivalent to enduring more than a 15-hour delay.

However, first-classers are also influenced:

And it isn’t only the hoi polloi who are getting angry. When coach passengers walk through first class, it causes a more than 10-fold increase in the incidence of air rage among first-class passengers, and the increase is disproportionately in belligerent behavior.

Finally:

Conspicuous loutishness among the ruling class should be no surprise. Work by researchers at UC Berkeley has shown that, on average, the wealthy are less “prosocial,” generous and honest than the rest of us. For example, one field study showed that wealthier people — as assessed by the cost of their cars — were less likely to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks than poorer folks.

While I will be in First Class on my next trip, clearly, I'm not wealthy--as exemplified by my 8-year old Honda Fit--so certainly I don't think I suffer from that loutishness syndrome.  While nothing close to being homeless, I barely survive in a hand-to-mouth existence, and will be extending my financial capabilities for the sake of those miles.  And this could well be my final extravagance.  Well, maybe there could well be that 2018 World Cruise, but that fantasy has reverted back to the dream stage.

I should finally add that the Dow Jones Industrial Average established another all-time high today, closing at 18,506:


By the way, you have until 5AM Hawaii time on Friday, July 22, to click HERE to qualify for two free tickets to observe Solar Impulse 2 return to Abu Dhabi.  The plane flew over the Great Pyramid yesterday and is now parked in Cairo awaiting the final 1471 mile trip.

Tomorrow will feature Part 2 of REFLECTIONS.

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The East Pacific again shows three storms, with the newest to become Estelle:


They're all headed for Hawaii, but the chances are good that we will only get some rain.

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